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General Concerns
123
the pervasive instability or collapse of nuclear families
the testimony of many young adults that they have never
witnessed a successful romantic relationship among older
adults
distrust of social institutions (government, churches),
regardless of ideological leanings
the sense among young people that they are the
inheritors of massive social and political problems from
their parents’ generation that they cannot ignore
the launching of lone individuals into cyberspace by way
of their computers
an all-encompassing consumer culture offering an
endless stream of products
Those factors have influenced a wandering, seeker type of
spirituality among students, who often describe themselves
as being “spiritual but not religious.” Being spiritual connotes
being on a quest, a journey, something not yet completed;
whereas for many students “religion” means something
fixed, completed, handed down. Student spiritual
development is at times a journey replete with potholes,
troublesome turns, and detours.
Students who seek spiritual connection may find themselves
wrestling with a faith as they experienced it before college,
exposure to different interpretations of their faith tradition,
or attraction to another tradition altogether. Once they are
confronted with a personal crisis, some students undergo a
crisis of faith, a period of doubt and questioning as part of a